He Was Not Ours
He Was Not Ours4 mins 236 4 mins 236
Mercury is plunging. Everything around is under the white blanket of snow. Some little children are playing. They are throwing snow ball to each other and bursting into laughter. They are playing cricket. As they run through the snow to collect ball, they fall on the milk white snow and that give them great pleasure.
In this beautiful valley Ramesh Singh has come to maintain peace. Everyone knows Kashmir is boiling. There's unrest everywhere. People are seething. Most of them hate soldiers. They chase the uniformed jawans. They pelt stones. A hail of stones. Soldiers are often injured. They die of injuries. These are not printed in newspapers nor covered in e-media.
Just now Ramesh is sitting inside a van. They are 44 in number, keeping vigil in this area. The father inside him appeared. Inside him that father desires to talk to the children, to play with them. But he is well aware of the hatred against the armed forces even among these little children. So he can't go to them. His son Indra and daughther Priyanka are now probably getting ready for the school. He looks at the sky. It's so magnificent blue! He wishes to fly around the blue in a paraglider. People are going to market. They are covered under thick jackets.
But here also he finds some poor children. They are wearing some dirty and torn jackets and half pants, may be given by some kind person. Ramesh can't understand why these people are so hateful against them. The armed forces never open fire if not compelled. They use pellet guns and no way it's a good option to restrain the mob. Pellet guns have blinded many and many have to live life with pellets deep under the skin because they can't be brought out through surgery. When skirmish breaks out no side is ready to leave the battlefield. Stone pelting is most dangerous for them. It doesn't kill instantly but gradually, if it hits you on the head. Sometimes stones blind you, sometimes pellets blind them. It seems no one is responsible. Both sides are fighting. Suddenly they find themselves in a fight from where one can't get out till the fight is not satisfied with some casualties or injuries.
The van now takes a back turn. They've to head back to the camp, 75 km away. Ramesh rides with all other. The van starts to move. He now brings out his mobile phone from his pocket. He makes a video call to his home. His wife receives the call.
Hello Rupa, how are you?
I am quite well. How much cold there?
You see how it looks around.
My God! Totally white!
In the meantime, his son Angshuman and daughter Archita join.
Hello, dad. So nice around, like a painting!
Really so. I'll bring all of you here next time. You'll enjoy Kashmir very much. Give the phone to your sister now.
Hello my Archi. How are you going on dear?
Quite well. Dad! Dad! Dad! Why are you not answering?
Archita gives back the phone to her mother. Ma, I don't know what has happened there. I heard some noise then the call got disconnected. I don't know what's wrong there. Her mother and brother both becomes anxious. They can't decide what to do now. Of course such call drop happened before. But this time there's something unusual.
Gradually morning turns into evening. News flashes. 35 jawans killed in Kasmir valley. Three members of a family 2000 km east of India glued their eyes to the TV set. Is there? Is there? Oh God let him spare. Wish he is not there. At night phone rings. From the other end a male voice tells - I am Rupesh Jadhav from the 33 company. I regret to say Ramesh Singh is no more. Terrorists attacked their van with grenades and assault rifles. For further updates, we will inform you everything in time. His wife was going to say something with sobbing but Rupesh said 'Yes, sister, I can feel your loss but you are the wife of a brave heart so please be steady.'
None could sleep that night. Next day they got another call which told them the body of Ramesh Singh is being sent through air. People from the village came to console them. Everyone was praising him for his bravery. But they didn't want to listen to it. They wanted him to live, not die a brave-hearted death.
After 5 days his body packed in a box, covered with tri-colour reached. Political leaders, newsmen, villagers thronged their small house. They paid tributes with garlands.
News flashed again - Great leader Gagan Gorai met the bereaved family, Chief Minister announced Rs 5 lakh for the wife of the martyred Ramesh Singh.
After his funeral is over Archita said, Ma, don't cry for him. He was not ours. A martyr is the property of a nation. How can he be our father! Ma, don't cry for him foolishly, look millions of people are crying for our father. He was of India's, not ours.